January 05, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Monday his interview for the Atlanta Falcons' coaching vacancy was ''fine.''

McDaniels also interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers last week. In his weekly conference call, he described the interviews as ''initial meetings.''

''They were fine,'' McDaniels said. ''It's part of the process and (you're) always obviously privileged that anybody wants to speak with you about anything like that.''

The Falcons are expected to interview former Jets coach Rex Ryan on Tuesday. Ryan had two interviews with Atlanta before the team hired Mike Smith in 2008.

Smith was fired last week following a 6-10 finish in 2014.

McDaniels would bring another Patriots connection to an Atlanta franchise already heavily influenced by New England's philosophies.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was New England's director of college scouting before he came to Atlanta in 2008.

Scott Pioli was hired as Atlanta's assistant general manager last year. Pioli was director of player personnel for the Patriots from 2000-08, including six years with Dimitroff.

Dimitroff's future with the Falcons could be determined by the direction of the coach search.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said last week he'll reassess the front office, including Dimitroff, after the coach is hired.

''Everything relative to football operations outside of coaching is up for scrutiny and discussion,'' Blank said. ''We haven't finished that process.''

Dimitroff is part of the coach search. However, the Falcons have hired the Korn Ferry search firm and added former Chiefs and Eagles executive Joe Banner as a consultant.

It is possible a more established coach such as Ryan could ask for more authority in personnel decisions than a first-time head coach.

Blank said experience as a head coach ''is not important, in my view.'' He said there will not be a question about authority after the coach is hired.

''This will not be a power struggle,'' Blank said. ''It will not be an issue of who has the final say.''

McDaniels said he is focused on preparing for this week's playoff game against Baltimore.

Asked if he wants to remain under consideration with the Falcons and 49ers, he said ''Honestly, I just had an initial meeting with them and it hasn't really gone any farther in any direction. ... I'm sure they'll do what they need to do on their end, and I'm sure those things will take care of themselves in the future.''

Meanwhile, Arizona coach Bruce Arians said the Falcons, Bears and Jets have requested permission to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

Bowles can be interviewed this week following the Cardinals' loss to Carolina in the playoffs. Similarly, Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is available for interviews following the Lions' playoff loss to the Cowboys.

The Falcons also interviewed Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase on Friday and former Bills coach Doug Marrone on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Marrone, who opted out of his contract with the Bills following a 9-7 season, is a former assistant coach at Georgia Tech and Georgia and a former Syracuse head coach.

Smith had a 66-46 regular-season record in seven seasons, including two NFC South titles. The Falcons won only one of five playoff games with Smith. Following winning records in each of Smith's first five seasons, Atlanta was only 10-22 the last two years.

Ryan was 46-50 in six seasons with the Jets. He was 4-2 in the postseason with AFC championship game appearances in each of his first two years.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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AP Sports Writers Howard Ulman in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and Bob Baum in Tempe, Arizona, contributed to this report.

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